At Gallipoli, a Campaign That Laid Ground for National Identities

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tags: World War I, Gallipoli

The trenches are still there, carved in the green hills of the slim Gallipoli Peninsula just across the Dardanelles, the waterway that connects the Aegean and Marmara Seas on the way to Istanbul from the port city of Canakkale. Gravestones adorn the beachheads and lands farther inland, marking the lives of the young men — Britons, Frenchmen, Australians, New Zealanders and their enemies, the Ottoman Turks — who died there, almost a century ago.

Nowadays, it is a well-preserved national park, with rolling fields of olive trees and patches of tomatoes, watermelons and sunflowers lending a rural ambience to the solemn places of the dead. It is hallowed ground for battlefield tourists, mostly Turks and Australians, who are coming in ever greater numbers, taken by ferry across the straits, to pay homage to their nations’ creation stories.

Almost a hundred years ago, it was the place where World War I was supposed to turn in the Allies’ favor, but instead it became one of the great slaughters of the Great War.

Read entire article at NYT

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